Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colourist: Brian Buccellato
Additional Colours: Ian Herring
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Art: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
A review by Jake Morris.
Since DC kick-started the New 52, The Flash has been a consistent book. The work by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato has been refreshing and for the most part, incredibly fun. In fact I would go on to state that it is one of the most underrated books that DC are putting out on a monthly basis. Each issue by the duo builds on the world around Barry, not just his powers but also the cast of characters and that continues in #22.
The issue opens in a rather dark manner, which compared to the last issue is quite a difference. The extra splatters of blood off panel add something rather sinister to a book that usually only includes splashes of red when Flash is racing across Central City, but that is not to say that it is out of place. Stakes have been raised in this arc as a lot of characters have been killed off and this issue carries on that order of business right from the offset. For Barry, it can only bring more heartbreak and fear as he continues to lose friends and gets ever closer to the same outcome.
Despite the grim opening, we get some Iris and Flash time which is welcome as she has not had much attention recently and this is where you can see that Buccellato and Manapul are having a lot of fun writing this series. I don’t know how Barry crafts those slick looking costumes but Iris looks the part and we get some funny but awkward dialogue about how the suit she is now wearing, is a little bit too tight… These not so subtle moments between Barry and Irish definitely hint towards something in the future but you sure as hell best place bets that Patty won’t be so welcoming about their time together. The dialogue and art really give off a cold atmosphere between the three characters with expressions displaying the thoughts of each of them perfectly.
We also finally get a better look at Reverse Flash in this issue and I must say the panels are definitely intense. Although we haven’t had much development as to who Reverse Flash is and as to what his motives are, he holds quite a heavy presence in the panels he features in. That should be put down the excellent pencils, inking and colouring as the contrast between his and Flash’s suits are a real sight to see. The first meeting between the two is displayed beautifully on an eye opening splash page which is followed by another and only gets better as we reach the end of the issue.
The artwork in this book is of the highest order. You get a real sense of craftsmanship and care from both Buccellato and Manapul. The fluidity in the issue from the pencils to the colours is evident and it comes across as if they grow from strength to strength in each issue.
It is tough to criticise any of the work in the issue as it is truly one of the most consistent issues I have seen for The Flash which included dashes of fun, mixed with some quite intense moments but all rounded off with extreme beauty. DC would be making a huge mistake if they changed the artist on this book.
My only criticism with the issue is that Reverse Flash still remains a bit of mystery, with no motivation for his acts notable at this point. However, mystery can often lead to something greater in the long run and the first meeting between both villain and hero granted us some thrilling action.
It seems Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have some great things planned out for us in the long run, but as of right now the book is an absolute blast and I look forward to more.
Jake is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @JakeUtd.